Hackaday Belgrade Talks will Live Stream Saturday

We have an amazing line-up of talks for Hackaday | Belgrade, Saturday April 9, in Belgrade, Serbia. The talks have been sold out for weeks. You can still get a ticket to the night’s concerts if you’re in the area. Either way, the big news this morning is that we will stream all of the talks live!

Live-stream links will be posted on the conference page as soon as we get them. You should also join the chat over on the Hackaday | Belgrade project page. Just click the “request to join this project” button in the upper right. Do that right now.

There are a ton of great speakers, check the poster below. I’m excited to hear Mike Harrison (mikeselectricstuff) speak about his journey down the rabbit hole of video projection tech, Phoenix Perry’s talk on Forward Futures, Voja Anotic’s talk about the hardware badge, Peter Philip’s talk about reinventing VHDL, and pretty much all of the rest too! From the Hackaday crew you can watch Sophi Kravitz give a talk on her shutter glass project, Chris Gammell will be talking Top Down Electronics, and I will end the 8-versus-32 argument once and for all (yeah right!).

While you’re listening to the talks, why not try your hand at badge hacking. You don’t need any hardware, you can use the emulator to try out your hacked code right now your own computer. We’ll be sending out prizes for the best entries and there are only a handful so far.

You do not want to miss these talks! If you don’t believe me, check out the talks from SuperCon last November and you’ll be convinced — Hackaday conferences provide the best collection of hardware talks anywhere.

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Tindie is Hiring a Writer

Tindie is the best place to find unique hardware. It’s hardware sold by it’s creators; you can’t just go out and buy it anywhere. The ideas for those creations, the design and engineering that went into them, and the background on both sellers making and buyers building is the story that makes Tindie special. It’s time to make that story a lot easier to discover.

Tindie has a Blog (which you should be following) and is now looking for its scribe to fill those pages. As a writer for Tindie you share the excitement of trying out the newest sensors, making things move, or even just the magic of that first simple blink. You will seek out amazing parts and people to highlight. In a few articles each week you’ll engage and energize the Tindie audience, highlight the cutting-edge new arrivals, and lead in brainstorming new builds.

Have I just described you? Then please apply to be a writer for Tindie. Email Tindie’s jobs line with the following:

  • Tell us about you. How did you get into building hardware? What are your educational, hobby, and professional backgrounds.
  • What direction do you think the Tindie blog should take?
  • Please choose one item offered by a seller on Tindie and write a sample article about it.

The position pays per article written. This is the first time Tindie is hiring a dedicated writer; it’s an opportunity for you to shape something new and amazing.

Bootstrapped Tools, Live Stopped Motion, and a Dekatron Computer

Dallas Texas played host to an epic Hackaday meetup last weekend. The Dallas Makerspace was kind enough to open their doors, and we sure used them. Attendance was over capacity, with a line all night to screen-print your own T-shirt, a set of lightning talks that lasted nearly two hours, and plenty of hardware show-and-tell.

We’ll start off with three of the most impressive builds displayed. First is a set of simple designs that can be used to make tools in parts of the world where even a hammer is a luxury. Then it’s on to a clever entertainment device that uses discrete stopped-motion figurines to make live animations. We’ll take a look at the Witch-E project which is building a replica of the famous Dekatron-based computer. And finish up with the surprise hit of the meetup.

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Hack the Hackaday Demoscene from Your Own Home

We are just two weeks away from the Hackaday | Belgrade conference, and tickets have completely sold out. That means you can’t get your hands on one of these sweet hardware badges, but you can still take home some prizes for pulling off a gnarly hack with the badge firmware.

What we’re talking about is the Hackaday Belgrade Badge Demoscene – which includes a surrogate presenter program for anyone who wants to send in their own code for the device. You have two weeks to work on and submit your code — and we’ve made it really easy for anyone who has a working knowledge of C.

The day of the conference we will download all entries, and have a surrogate at the conference load it onto their badge and present it on your behalf. There is a separate pool of prizes for online entries, so hackers not at the con will win. And of course we’ll be celebrating the awesome demos with some posts on the front page.

No Hardware Needed

Badge emulator scrolling the word "Hackaday"
Badge emulator scrolling the word “Hackaday”

Hack in C for Abstracted Bliss or Be Hardcore:

You can use the emulator shown here to write your code for this badge. It comes with a set of basic functions that abstracts away the low-level hardware functions, and launches a demo window on your computer to test out your code. Check out this barebones C framework to get started.

For those that want more control, we have published the official assembly code that the badges will ship with (including a user manual). We’ll be squashing bugs right up to the day of the con). You can alter and compile this code yourself, or just start from scratch using the design spec if you prefer to travel the hardcore bit-monkey path.

Either way, you have an 8×16 display and 4 buttons to work with. Exercise your creativity and amaze us by doing a lot on a rather modest canvas. That’s what demoscene is all about.

How to Enter

Entry is easy, just start a project on Hackaday.io and submit it to the Belgrade Badge Demoscene contest using the “Submit Project To…” menu on your project page. You need to upload .C and .H files, or a precompiled .HEX to the file hosting part of your project page by Saturday, April 9th.

That’s the extent of the requirements. But it would be super fun if you recorded the software emulator playing your demo for all to see. The easiest way to do this is to record a video of your computer screen using your smartphone. Good luck to all!

Lead a Hackaday Meetup in Your City

If you love Hackaday and want to meet your community you should lead a Hackaday meetup in your city. This is fun and easy. Get ready, we’ll help you do it!

Fill out this form to let us know that you’re interested in leading. We’ll set up a Meetup.com page with you as the organizer, add an organizer badge to your Hackaday.io profile, and send a swag pack your way. Of course we’ll also help publicize the event so that everyone in the area knows it’s happening.

World Create Day on April 23rd

A meetup can take on a life of its own with the right group of like-minded participants, but it has to start with an initial meeting. We’re hoping to provide that spark by coordinating our first world-wide live event: World Create Day on April 23rd.

World Create Day lays down a design challenge. The people at your meetup will pick a technology challenge and brainstorm a solution for it. Leverage the skills of everyone involved to come up with mechanical, electrical, and design solutions. This is what the Hackaday Prize is all about and what you come up with at World Create Day should be entered in the first challenge.

We want to see pictures and hear about what interesting build ideas sprouted from your group. We’ll be picking the most spectacular design solutions to share on the Hackaday front page, and there will be prizes. But we also want to celebrate the fun of getting together in person with all of the people who make Hackaday a part of their daily ritual.

Hackaday Meetup Beyond

World Create Day is a single day event, but your meetup can live on if you want it to. We can help with ideas for future meetups of your group, you can pass it off to someone else, or you can make this a one-time event. It’s up to you. But we are always looking for active communities when organizing Global Meetups. This is a great way to show that the Hackaday community is alive and thriving in your part of the world. Maybe our next big event will be held in your city!

Engineer Humanity’s Future: The 2016 Hackaday Prize

Today we are proud to launch the 2016 Hackaday Prize. Build Something That Matters and you’ll contribute positively to humanity’s future by expand the frontiers of knowledge and engineering. You’ll also score recognition of your skills, and position yourself to land one of 105 cash prizes totaling over $300,000. Choose a technology issue facing humanity today and build a project that fixes, improves, or bypasses the problem.

You have the talent, the energy, and the capacity to change the world. Make the time and make a difference.

The Hackaday Prize is a competition synonymous with creating for social change. Using your hardware, coding, scientific, design and mechanical abilities, you will make big changes in people’s lives. Every idea has impact, and a massive force of ideas creates real change. This year we have more power than ever before to recognize the engineering projects that are solving problems: One hundred finalists will get $1,000 each for their efforts. This flat prize structure encourages collaboration rather than direct competition. Team up on each others’ projects and improve your overall chances of making it into the finals.

But it doesn’t stop there. From one hundred finalists, five will rise to be named top winners. Our expert judges will carefully review each of 100 world-changing final entries, choosing a grand prize winner to receive $150,000. Second place will be awarded $25,000, with $10k, $10k, and $5k going to third, fourth, and fifth.

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Microchip Publishes USB Mass Storage Loader

Microchip just published their USB-MSD Programmer firmware. This open source project allows a board to enumerate as a USB Mass Storage device. Programming is as simple as copying a .hex file to the “drive”.

This code is what’s running on the $10 Xpress board that they released last month which includes a PIC18F25K50 to serve as a PICkit On Board (PKOB) programmer for the actual target micro; a PIC16F18855. In its stock version, the XPRESS-Loader firmware programs any PIC16F188xx chips that have a row size of 32 words. But it should be possible to tweak this package to program any chips that use the 8-bit LVP-ICSP protocol.

Now, this may seem like small potatoes at first look: it requires two microcontrollers on your board and is capable of programming just a small subset of the vast PIC inventory. But in our minds it’s the USB-MSD that is killer since it doesn’t require any software or drivers on the computer side of things. That’s a big invitation for all kinds of hacks. But there should be even more on the way from the Xpress team before too long.

It turns out the microcontroller [Voja Antonic] chose to use on the Hackaday | Belgrade badge is the 25k50. Since hearing about the Xpress board we’ve been talking to some of the PIC engineers and they are exploring a loader that will program onto the same chip. This means device upgrades without special hardware or drivers – perfect for badge hacking at a conference. This can be done with a precompiled hex, one created on MPLAB X, MPLAB Xpress, or others. We’ll keep you updated if we hear more on that part of the project.